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Jailed HDP politician goes on hunger strike in support of PKK leader

Diyarbakır's former co-mayors Gülten Kışanak (L) and Fırat Anlı

Gültan Kışanak, former mayor of the Kurdish-dominated southeastern province of Diyarbakır and a member of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), has joined an ongoing hunger strike by former HDP deputy Leyla Güven, the Artıgerçek news website reported on Tuesday.

The hunger strike was launched by Güven in order to demand the removal of the “heavy lockdown” of Abdullah Öcalan, leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“As of today, I am also starting a hunger strike to bring an end to the isolation of Mr. Öcalan. I support MP Güven’s hunger strike to the same end and believe that each and every one of us has a responsibility to obtain concrete results. The isolation in İmralı jail is in contravention of basic human rights, and it cannot be implemented by any state that claims to be a democratic state governed by the rule of law. In addition, Öcalan’s importance to peace in society was witnessed in the past,” Kışanak said in her statement.

Kışanak was arrested in October 2016 and replaced as mayor of Diyarbakır by a government-appointed trustee. She has been in pretrial detention for over two years.

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